We are just a couple of weeks shy of November–the month when men’s health is celebrated and several important issues are brought to light, such as prostate and testicular cancers. “Movember” efforts do a great job in educating men of all ages about preventing and protecting themselves from these specific diseases, but what other conditions out there should men be concerned about?
A big one is osteoporosis, and we see patients with it every day here at Texas Orthopedics. It is primarily thought of as women’s disease, so it is often overlooked in men by many healthcare providers. Osteoporosis is the progressive loss of bone density as you age, rendering bones weak and susceptible to breaks and fractures.
Although women tend to experience more fractures than men overall, when men do suffer from one, it is usually to a more serious degree and with added complications. Fractured or broken hips are one of the more dangerous scenarios for men, potentially leaving a man permanently disabled and twice as likely to die within a year than a woman with a similar injury.
According to recent research in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, men lose bone mineral density at the rate of approximately one percent per year. Additionally, one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture at least once in their lifetime.
Many of the risk factors associated with male osteoporosis are the same for women, including being under or overweight, malnutrition, smoking, a family history of the condition, and side effects resulting from medicine/treatments for things such as GERD (gastric-esophageal reflux disease), and celiac disease. Men with prostate cancer who are on androgen deprivation therapy are also at high risk for decreased bone density.
Any man with any of one of these risk factors should get checked regularly for osteoporosis. A bone density exam is the best place to start.
Once diagnosed, osteoporosis can be treated successfully with a combination of healthy diet and nutritional supplements, exercise to strengthen bones, and medication if needed.
If you are a male over 50 years of age and interested in a bone density exam, please contact us for an appointment.